Viterbo panelists debate response Rto Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
By ED HOSKINE/Of the Tribune staff
The United States should do more to fight the root causes of terrorism if it wants to make the world safer, a leading pacifist argued Wednesday at a Viterbo University debate titled "The Ethical Use of Force in Response to Terrorism."
"Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease," said Rania Masri, a board member of the pacifist organization Peace Action and founder of Iraq Action Coalition. "Unless we stop what causes it, we won't stop it."
Masri said military action could have disastrous consequences, both domestically and for the impoverished people of Afghanistan. She said if there is sufficient evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the Sept. 11 attacks, why not indict him in international court?
Military force against the terrorists behind the attacks could only provoke a cycle of violence, Masri said. "One thing history has shown is that violence begets violence. Let's end the pool of despair, repression and military occupation."
A second panelist, Robert Froehlke, the former secretary of the U.S. Army under the President Nixon's administration, said military action against the terrorists and those who harbor them is the only option.
"Put yourself in the position of George W. Bush," Froehlke said. "If you were the commander-in-chief, would you delay or would you do everything possible (to defend the nation)?"
"That's why we're in there, if possible, to avoid more attacks. The only way to stop bin Laden is to get him."
George Lopez, director of policy studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, said he believed the United States has the justification to attack the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but it could be "unwise in this instance."
War against terrorism is "a very long road for even the singular most powerful military in history to go down," Lopez said. "I think we put ourselves in a difficult position."
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